The Atlanta BeltLine is moving forward, with exciting new developments all around the loop! The 2-mile Eastside Trail, which runs right through the heart of Midtown, is being expanded southward to connect to Cabbagetown and Reynoldstown. Construction on this expansion should be completed by the end of summer. In southwest Atlanta, the Westside Trail is under construction and will open as a 3-mile corridor that connects four parks and four schools. This $43 million infrastructure investment will bring connectivity, development, and mobility options to Adair Park, Oakland City, West End, Westview, and beyond. The Westside Trail is due to open in late summer.
So you may be wondering what’s next for the Atlanta BeltLine? Design work has begun on the Atlanta BeltLine’s largest project to date–the 4-mile Southside Trail, which will connect the Westside Trail at University Avenue to the Eastside Trail at Memorial Drive, completing more than 9 miles of continuous Atlanta BeltLine trail. The Atlanta BeltLine has also contributed to more than 200 acres of parks developed and another 210 acres renovated. This year, design work will commence on Enota Park on the Westside Trail. In 2016, goats were unleashed in Enota Park to remove invasive species, funded by a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant.
With the exciting development and transformation of Atlanta come concerns about affordability and equity. We at the Atlanta BeltLine are working hard to ensure that affordable workforce housing is a built-in component of the project, with $15 – 18 million in funds dedicated to the BeltLine Affordable Housing Trust Fund (BAHTF) over the next three years. Projects such as the Reynoldstown Senior Residences and Stanton Oaks development have been funded by BAHTF dollars, contributing to the more than 1,100 affordable units developed in the BeltLine Planning Area.
The future of the Atlanta BeltLine became a little clearer in 2016 with the issuance of $145 million in Tax Allocation District (TAD) bonds to help fund capital projects, the first issuance of its kind in eight years. Additionally, voters of Atlanta showed their support for transportation and infrastructure initiatives with the passage of the TSPLOST and MARTA referenda in November. Of the funds collected, $66 million will go toward purchasing the remaining right-of-way to build out the Atlanta BeltLine.
Transportation studies are advancing on the Atlanta BeltLine, with 16 miles of corridor under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation on the east and west sides of the Atlanta BeltLine, as well as crosstown corridors and extensions of the current downtown Atlanta Streetcar loop. This work is in support of the Atlanta BeltLine Streetcar System Plan and is required for eligibility for financial support from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
Art on the Atlanta BeltLine is back in 2017, so mark your calendars for the Lantern Parade on September 9! The beloved parade kicks off the exhibition each year on the first Saturday after Labor Day, and has become a new Atlanta tradition, with more than 73,000 people in attendance in 2016. Art on the Atlanta BeltLine is the South’s largest temporary public art exhibition, and this year promises to be the most exciting yet with hundreds of proposals received from artists all over the world.
This is just a snapshot of the recent progress we’ve made, so if you’re craving more Atlanta BeltLine news, visit us at Beltline.org and sign up for our newsletter or brow the blog. You can also get regular updates from the Atlanta BeltLine in person at our Quarterly Briefings. Hope we see you there!
Join the conversation with Midtown Lifestyle on Instagram at @MidtownLifestyleMagazine, #BeltlineBAEs #PawsAtPiedmont #MidtownLifestyleMag